Parish and town councils have a large range of powers, and the activities parish and town councils are involved in are immense.
Barford St John & St Michael parish council meets on the first Wednesday of every month in the Village Hall at 7.30pm.
County Councillor Arash Fatemian regularly attends these meetings. Members of the public are always welcome and a ten minute slot is made available for them to raise issues of concern, details of which should be relayed to the Chairman or the Clerk before the meeting. There is no meeting in August.
The parish council is trustee to Barford Village Hall, which itself is run by a management committee.
The parish council sits at the heart of these two villages and forms a key part of the democratic process. It gives people a say at a very local level on proposals which may affect them. It is involved in providing local facilities, such as West Close playing field, open spaces, the village hall and, in conjunction with the county and district councils, may also be involved in traffic calming schemes and other local initiatives.
It represents the views and needs of the community across a wide range of issues.
It has a legal right to be notified of all planning applications within the parish boundary, and has 21 days from the date of the notification letter to respond to the district council. This means that the parish council could influence strategic planning issues and a range of other important matters affecting the community it serves.
The parish council is a statutory body. Members are elected for a term of four years, the most recent uncontested election having been held in May 2014.
The council is funded principally by an annual precept (£7,000 in 2010-2011). Budget estimates for the next financial year are calculated each December and the net amount (the precept) is added to Council Tax. The precept is paid to parishes in two six-monthly instalments. The council receives an annual grass cutting grant from Oxfordshire County Council.
An individual councillor (including the chairman) cannot make a decision on behalf of the council. Parish councillors do not get paid, and although they could claim expenses for some duties in certain circumstances, Barford St John and St Michael parish council vote annually not to claim expenses.
Councillors contribute to the work of the Parish Council by:-
- Having a say about the things they care about
- Putting forward ideas for better services
- Responding to the needs and views of constituents
- Seeking the best outcome to local issues.